Raiders' Jimmy Garoppolo (back) leaves victory over Patriots

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Monday, October 16, 2023

LAS VEGAS -- Jimmy Garoppolo's locker was still full of his personal effects more than an hour after the Las Vegas Raiders held off the New England Patriots21-17on Sunday.

At halftime, the Raiders quarterback left in an ambulance for the hospital to be checked out for what was described as a back injury.

Still, his presence was felt mightily in the locker room after the Raiders improved to 3-3 with their second consecutive win. Brian Hoyer, the 15th-year veteran backup, replaced Garoppolo in the second half, led the victory and set up Las Vegas to hit the road to face the Chicago Bears (1-5) next.

Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said he did not have an update on Garoppolo's condition, though he acknowledged the QB leaving the stadium.

"They're just doing tests," McDaniels said, "and just making sure they take care of all that stuff."

A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that "precautionary tests" were indeed taken to "err on the side of caution."

While Hoyer performed well in moving the Raiders' offense -- completing 6 of 10 passes for 102 yards, including a 48-yard deep ball to rookie Tre Tucker for the Raiders' longest play from scrimmage this season -- rookie Aidan O'Connell started the Raiders' loss at the Los Angeles Chargersin Week 4, when Garoppolo was out with a concussion.

So, questions abound, and McDaniels was not ready to commit to a quarterback for next week.

"There's a lot of balls up in the air right now relative to Jimmy and that whole situation, and we'll just see -- have a little patience here for ourselves, and see what the report is going to be," McDaniels said. "I'm hoping for the best, obviously, like we all are.

"We'll find out more and then, obviously, try to make the best decision we can for the team."

Garoppolo led the Raiders to a 13-3 halftime lead, completing 14 of 22 passes for 162 yards and a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers. But he also was picked off for the eighth time this season, on a ball that bounced off Davante Adams when he was hit hard on a slant pass.

While Garoppolo was injured sometime during the Raiders' final possession of the half, he remained in the game, even as it was evident he was in pain.

"It's sad whenever you see, especially a leader in the locker room, get hurt or go through injuries, but it's also part of the game, man," said Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who rushed for a season-high 77 yards on 25 carries.

"I mean, we're praying for him; we're hoping he can get back as soon as he can. But we hope that the next guy is ready to step up too."

Raiders edge rusher Maxx Crosby said he did not know Garoppolo wouldn't be returning until the second half was about to begin.

"For us, as a defense, we talk about it, but we want to be the reason we win the game -- and no matter what, obviously, Jimmy's our brother," said Crosby, who shared the game-sealing sack for a safety with defensive tackle Bilal Nicholswith less than two minutes to play. "We're praying for him, and hopefully he's all good, but yeah, you've got to go out there and go win. So, it's as simple as that. We went out there, and we did that, so we're excited about it."

The Raiders would not have been able to pull it off, though, without Hoyer, who spent his previous three campaigns with New England.

Even if he was not greeted all that warmly by Raiders fans at Allegiant Stadium.

"To hear the fans boo him and s--- was kind of crazy," Jacobs said of Hoyer. "But he came out there and bombed them and shut them up.

"I think he played good, man. He's obviously a veteran quarterback. He knows this system a lot, and he came in [and] played pretty poised to me."

Hoyer said he had not even taken a snap from center Andre James in three weeks and that he had to play catch-up.

Facing the team that initially signed him in 2009 and for which he has played parts of eight seasons also helped, especially on the long toss to Tucker.

"Having been there," Hoyer said, "I know a lot of times on third downs they want to take away your best players, and for us, that would be Davante and Jakobi. And that was something we were keyed in on."

Hoyer said he recognized the coverage, trusted Tucker and unleashed the deep ball.

The way the Raiders' defense was playing also gave Hoyer confidence that he did not have to force any plays, he said.

"You've always got to be ready," Hoyer said. "You never know.

"It's my 15th year. I've pretty much seen all the situations and, really, what it comes down to is playing football. Regardless of the situation, obviously, I've played in this offense for a long time."

McDaniels offered his take on the QB situation.

"Certainly, I'm hoping for a healthy quarterback room, in general," he said, "and I thought Jimmy was doing some good things, obviously, before he got twisted or hit.

"So, we'll just patiently see what this is going to be, and we'll make the best decision we can."

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